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Why “turn into the skid” is wrong

Why “turn into the skid” is wrong

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If you do any car control course, and you should if you’re into any form of motorsport of offroading, then you’ll need to learn the art and science of skid recovery.

You may be told “turn into the skid” or “countersteer” or “turn out of the skid”.

This isn’t wrong, but it’s not that helpful. First of all, how far do you turn the steering wheel? Then, when do you stop turning? Does this work for understeer as well as oversteer? Is turning “into” the skid left or right if the you’re skidding to the right? When the back swings back during oversteer recovery…what do you do then?

It’s all quite confusing. So I offer an alternative which works for the steering component of any skid recovery:

1. Look where you want the car to go;
2. Ensure the steering wheels are turned where you want to go, regardless of what the back or front end of the car is doing.

I used to say “look where you want to go” but that was obviously “into the toilets so I can change my underwear” so I modified it to “look where you want the car to go” which is where it can go, not necessarily where you’d really like it to go. For example, if you’re running off a track you’d like to be on the black stuff, but the physics of mass, velocity and traction may disagree and say you’re going for a little tour across the infield first. Also, you tend to hit what you’re looking at. So, override that tendency to look at trees; refer Point 1 above.

Here’s two videos about oversteer and understeer:

Robert Pepper Automotive journalist specialising in 4X4s, sportscars, camping and future tech.

Comment(2)

  1. when i did a student driver course the instructors made the point dont look a the big tree look for the little gap beside it where you can fit the car. and dont try and steer onto the road look to the centre of the lane you will get there. they even demonstrated it.

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